By Kelly Youngblood
In honor of Father’s Day on June 16, why not drag Dad out of the kitchen (hahaha) and give him a night off from cooking for the family? (Ow, ow, ow, my side hurts from laughing so hard!)
I’m sorry. I know hysterical laughter isn’t appropriate or necessary. This isn’t the 1950’s, right? Dads DO cook; just not my children’s father.
I take that back, he makes really good chili (in the fall and winter months only) and he makes jalapeno poppers to die for (which doesn’t really qualify as dinner for the kids). But he does grill hamburgers and hot dogs like a boss so I will give him a lot of credit for that.
Anyway, back to the point of this article. If you want to treat Dad to a nice meal for Father’s Day, there are some great options in the Champaign-Urbana area. Whether he’s craving homemade fried chicken or a nice juicy steak, check out our list of five great places to take Dad on Father’s Day.
For some good barbecue, you can’t go wrong with Li’l Porgy’s Barbeque. Every time my dad comes to visit, that is the one restaurant he can’t pass up. Ribs, chicken, and sandwiches served with their own signature barbecue sauce are favorites on the menu along with thick steak-cut fries and lemonade shake-ups. The ambiance is, shall we say, informal but a great option for families with small children.
For a nice juicy steak, The Ribeye, is a delicious option. The menu is limited but that just means they specialize in each item they serve. Steak, chicken, or shrimp with a signature twice-baked potato and one of the best salad bars I’ve ever encountered is what you’ll find at this long-standing Champaign eatery. They also offer a children’s menu for those 12 and under and say children under 5 can share Mom and Dad’s dinner and have the salad bar for free!
For a great sandwich, check out Penn Station East Coast Subs. With choices like Philadelphia Cheesesteak, Chicken Parmesan and Pizza subs, Dad will be in sandwich heaven. They also offer fresh-cut fries and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Eat-in or take the sandwiches to go and let Dad choose the location he wants to eat!
For some homemade comfort food like fried chicken or beef and noodles, take Dad to The Apple Dumplin’ on High Cross Road in Urbana. They offer a Sunday buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., changing the buffet food choices each week. I happen to know this weekend they will be serving meatloaf, beef and noodles and fried chicken as their main buffet choices. Adults pay $11.25 per buffet and meals for children 6-12 cost $5.75. (Children 5 and under eat for free.) Drinks are included in that price. The building isn’t huge so there may be a wait to sit down and eat but it’s well worth it.
For some Italian food, try Minneci’s. To be honest, I have never eaten there but have heard it’s delicious and would like to try it out sometime soon. On Sundays they serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 3-9:30 p.m. Pizza, pasta dishes, salads, soups, and desserts like tiramisu are some of the features on their extensive menu.
Rather than go out to eat, stay at home and have a backyard barbecue (especially if you got dad a brand new grill for Father’s Day). Local, fresh meat is available at the UI Meat Salesroom or stop Saturday and some of the great meat vendors at the Market at the Square; another favorite is Old Time Meat and Deli .
Kelly is a mom to three wild and wonderful children and a freelance writer for a weekly newspaper. She has lived in the “suburbs” of C-U for more than two decades, but is always finding something new and interesting to do in the area.